Amid the grim news, some Caribbean immigrants turn on the wit
Felicia Persaud | 4/2/2020, midnight
This past week was very hard as I grappled to cope with the new COVID-19 reality. It marked the first time in years that I was completely indoors for more than a week: no gym, no grocery, no bank, no office run––nothing!
And while I am grateful to be healthy and did my best to stick to my work and exercise schedule ––INSIDE––the constant bombardment of grim news, especially as it impacts immigrants, was beginning to take its toll.
So, this week, I determined to write a different column and share some creative ways I have found many in the Caribbean immigrant community are turning on the wit.
1: ‘Tan A Yuh Yard,’ a creative Jamaican expression, is making the rounds on social media and seeping into phone calls and texts. Translated for my American friends, it means simply: ‘Stay In Your Home.”
2: One creative Jamaican singer who goes by the handle Compass, even created an entire reggae song that launched on March 26 and is now on YouTube titled: ‘Tan Inna Mi Yaad.’ As he puts it, as he sees everyday now, someone else going to the morgue, he’d rather “tan inna mi yaad.” Compass also has some advice to all the single men missing female companionship in the age of social distance: “Text some gyal pon Instagram.”
3: Guyanese-born singers Terry G and Nishal B have taken it to the next level by creating a song named after the virus. “Corona,” was released on March 21 and to date has gotten over 14,000 views.
With a catchy chutney rhythm, the two creative minds dub the new corona virus “the new bad man in town.” The song also conveys a safety message of sanitizing, hand washing, social distancing as well as staying indoors. “Me ain’t taking chances, no nevva. So I will be inside me corner.”
And playing on the virus’ name, which is also the name of a Mexican beer, the two sing: “Ah want ah case ah BANKS not Corona.” Banks is the Guyana brand of beer.
4: Even Caribbean-born comedian Majah Hype is zoning in on the virus. Hype released a coronavirus focused video on March 18 on YouTube, parodying Grammy winning star Buju Banton, in which he sings: “…me fraid fuh get sick” and “everybody stay home and now they can’t pay dem bills.”
Hope these light moments of wit brings a smile to your face, even if temporarily. As my granny used to say: “You have to laugh to stop yourself from crying.”
Sadly, this is our new reality and the post-COVID-19 world may be even tougher still, especially for immigrants––legal and undocumented––in these United States. There is a lot to be fearful of: fearful for our lives and the lives of our families; fearful of how we will pay the bills and make it as many lose jobs and pensions, and fearful of spiraling into dark places of depression because of the stress of it all.
But all we can do for now is to cling to faith and find humor in these dark days. Hope this column has played a tiny part to bring a smile to your face––even if for a brief moment––in these dark times.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.